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Lake Information

County: Tazewell

Acreage: 1426

Average Depth: 10.33 feet

Shoreline Length: 10.9 miles

Recreational Amenities

Boat Fishing? Unrestricted

Boat Ramps? Yes

Boat Rental? No

Skiing? No

Swimming? No

Picnicking? No

Camping? No

large map link west end east end

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    West End, East End

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There are no zebra mussels in this lake.

Fish Stocking






Blue Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Largemouth Bass




Blue Catfish

Advanced Fingerling 4 - 7"



Blue Catfish

Non-vulnerable 8 - 10"



Striped Bass x White Bass (Wiper)

Fingerling 1 - 3"


Additional information for stocking on POWERTON LAKE

Fishing Outlook  ( Full PDF Report )

Click here for a list of all reports.



Fish Status



An initial stocking of blue catfish (35,000) was made in October of 1999 from stocks received from Arkansas and reared at the Little Grassy Hatchery to 4.5 inches in length. We have stocked a total of over 100,000 blue catfish in the past 5 years. This stocking program has created a sport fishery that anglers enjoy for both harvest and trophy size fish. Shoreline fishing in the warmwater discharge area is a prime destination at the start of January. The 2019 fall electrofishing survey collected 77 blue catfish. These fish ranged in size from 17.5 to 40 inches in length. The body condition has been exceptionally good for these fish in Powerton. The population indices showed 53.2 percent of the fish were over 28 inches and 13 percent were over 34 inches in length.



The 2019 survey collected 7 channel catfish ranging from 9 to 16 inches with a body condition of 98.2. Historically it has been a high-density population of fish under 16 inches in length in average to poor body condition. A PCB advisory for channel catfish was lifted in 2012 as three years of testing resulted in levels below the action limit. Eastern Illinois University will begin conducting a population study on both blue and channel catfish in 2020. The goal of this study is to evaluate the population as a whole and evaluate the need for regulations to protect the species.



On 8/6/2019, a total of 6 alligator gar were collected ranging from 47” – 58” and 30 – 57 lbs. All fish were collected with 4” alligator gar gill nets. Four of these fish were 10-year-old fish that were stocked as two-year-old fish in 2011. In 2019 they had an average length of 1467 mm (57.7 inches) and 24,062 grams (53 pounds) each. Two additional fish were collected from the 2016 stocking. These two-year-old fish had an average length of 1194 mm (47 inches) and 14,500 grams (31.9 pounds) each. In six sampling trips over six years, we have collected 41 of the original 78 stocked fish (52.6%) from 2011.



As part of an effort to insure survival of stocked cool-water species, a change in the cool-water stocking priority list was made to allow for the stocking of hybrid striped bass. The reproduction and recruitment of white bass has been minimal over the past six years. White bass have almost entirely disappeared from the creel and population survey samples. None were collected in 2013 and only 4 were collected in 2014. None have been collected since 2015. It is hoped that hybrid striped bass stockings will create another trophy fishery over time and eventually replace the white bass population. The 2019 fall electrofishing survey collected 32 hybrid striped bass. These fish ranged from 14 to 24 inches in length and had a good body condition value of 97.2 Future hybrid striped bass stockings will be requested for Powerton Lake in an effort to maintain this population.



The 2019 fall electrofishing survey collected 12 largemouth bass. These fish ranged from 15 to 20 inches in length. The average body condition was excellent at a 121.3 value. Future largemouth bass stockings will be requested for Powerton Lake in an effort to establish a more stable and dense population.



The population of smallmouth bass at Powerton Lake has declined in both number and condition over the past several years. They were minimally present in 2014 and did not represent a good fishery for anglers. The sudden decline of this fishery had not been anticipated as they have been present since 1987 at Powerton Lake. As a measure to supplement smallmouth bass reproduction, 41,156 smallmouth bass, 1.0 inches long, were stocked into Powerton from surplus smallmouth bass stocks at Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery in June of 2014. We were, once again, able to stock surplus smallmouth from the Jake Wolf hatchery in 2015. We were able to stock a total of 217,410 fish or 152 smallmouth per acre of water. This stocking resulted in a YAR of 0.1 for the fall population sample. It is hoped that these fish will recruit and provide a shot in the arm for the smallmouth bass fishery at Powerton Lake in the coming years. We were able to stock a total of 155 brood smallmouth bass from our brood source at Jake Wolf Hatchery in 2016. While the 2017 fall electrofishing survey did show some improvements in the size range of the smallmouth bass population in Powerton, the 2018 survey only collected 3 smallmouth bass. The 2019 survey collected 8 smallmouth bass ranging from 5 – 20 inches with a body condition of 99.8. Future smallmouth bass stockings will be requested for Powerton Lake in an effort to establish a more stable and dense population.

Location: Powerton Lake is located in west-central Illinois two miles southwest of Pekin, Illinois in Tazewell County.

Description: Powerton Lake was constructed and filled in 1971 by Commonwealth Edison Company. Its purpose was to provide cooling water for a fossil fuel fired electric generation facility. Powerton Station was constructed in the 1930s, but greatly expanded in 1971. Water quality law made it necessary for the plant to construct a cooling lake, rather than using the Illinois River for cooling the heat exchanger. Powerton Lake was built in a drainage district adjacent to the Illinois and Mackinaw Rivers and encompasses 1426.0 acres of water. The Lake was built in the shape of an extended rectangle and has very little structure. The maximum depth is 18 feet with an average depth of about 8 feet. Water flow is from the plant discharge on the East side and flow is directed toward the west by a series of baffles. Water turn-over is about every 48 hours through the plant intake at maximum cooling flow capacity. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources signed a cooperative agreement with Commonwealth Edison Company in 1984 to open Powerton for fishing and waterfowl hunting. That lease was renewed in 2010 to extend another 10 years. There is a double concrete ramp and parking for 90 cars at the access which is located along the Manito Blacktop on the south side of the lake.

History and Status of the Sport Fishery: In 2001, blue catfish stocks were obtained from Arkansas and stocked into Powerton Lake with the hope that it would create an excellent trophy fishery for this fish. The catfish grew quickly in the warm water of the lake and had attained a size of 50 pounds by 2011. The lake has been stocked annually with this species and will be evaluated for natural reproduction. Striped bass hybrids have been stocked in Powerton to provide an open water predator on gizzard shad and threadfin shad. The success of these stockings is currently being evaluated. Alligator gar were obtained from the federal hatchery system and stocked into Powerton in 2011. The purpose of this stocking was to re-establish this rare fish in Illinois waters. Since the initial stocking Alligator gar have been collected up to 60" and 65 lbs. In 2015 we stocked a total of 221,193 smallmouth bass 0.5 to1.3 inches in length in order to re-establish a good breeding population of these fish in coming years. Because of difficulties in recruitment of smallmouth due to warm water in mid-summer, it is hoped that these hatchery fish will recruit and establish a very large year-class of bass. A total of 38,631 blue catfish were reared at Little Grassy Hatchery and stocked into Powerton Lake as 4.1 inch long fish in 2015. These fish should be able to maintain an excellent catfish fishery for the next few years.

We were able to collect a total of 16 species of fish in our collection for the fall of 2018. They included: Gizzard shad, threadfin shad, bigmouth buffalo, bluegill, redear sunfish, carp, smallmouth buffalo, freshwater drum, brook silversides silver carp, and green sunfish. Not collected were: Pirate perch, shortnose gar, alligator gar, and bighead carp. Powerton Lakes’ fish population is influenced greatly by the elevated temperature of the water. Fish growth is very fast but reproduction is negatively affected. The power plant was off line in November and December of 2015 and water temperatures were much cooler at that time.

Additional Lake Information: Summer Hours (May 1 - Sept. 30): 6 A.M. - 8 P.M.
Winter Hours (Oct 1 - March 31):8 A.M. - 4 P.M.

Powerton Lake is closed to boat traffic except for legal waterfowl hunters from one week prior to regular waterfowl season to February 15 and closed to all unauthorized entry during regular Canada goose and duck season.

There is no horsepower restriction on boating. Pole and line fishing only.

Additional boating regulations include:

- Boat use restricted to fishing and/or waterfowl hunting.
- All boats must be powered by a gasoline engine
- No recreational boating or sailing
- No kayaks or canoes
- No swimming or wading

Site Regulations:
Blue Catfish, Flathead Catfish, Channel Catfish: A new harvest regulation went into effect in April 2019 and is a 1 fish Daily Harvest Limit for Fish greater than or equal to 35 inches and a 6 fish Daily Harvest Limit for Fish less than 35 inches for blue catfish, flathead catfish and/or channel catfish. This regulation was placed in an effort to protect some of the larger blue catfish but still allow a sustainable harvest.

Contact Information:
IDNR Fisheries Biologist, Blake Bushman